Foxwoods: Pleasure in the Absence of Sin?

3299 Words14 Pages
Fifty two miles from Providence, on Route 2 off Interstate 95 you will find a purple and turquoise glow in the middle of the Connecticut woods. On the Mashantucket Pequot reservation, the largest gambling casino in the world —Foxwoods, sits nestled among massive, old growth trees and modest hills. Route 2 cuts a straight shot through the woods. An endless row of headlights returning from the casino illuminates both sides of the rural, two-lane road, and a string of brake lights guide the way towards a land run by rules of luck, addiction, and money. A tour bus returning to New York lights up a hand-laid, New England stone wall. In its disrepair, the wall no longer marks the boundaries of a proud property, tilled and worked with Protestant resolve. The decrepit mass of stones stands as a sadly antiqued relic on either side of a yellow brick road towards a fantasy world of elusive profits and dreams backed only by chance.

The pastoral vision of a Puritan New England, with stone walls and white clapboard houses, frames an approach to the self-contained complex of mammoth buildings. They rise above the tree line and cast an umbrella of neon over an otherwise undeveloped and rural part of Connecticut. Residents of the three closest towns have complained that they can no longer see the stars due to the lights cast off from Foxwood’s enormous towers. Last year, tour buses coming from New York, Hartford, Providence, and other points discharged 1.1 million gamers. The buses shuttle constantly along this paved artery between Foxwoods and Interstate 95, so you are never alone, and there is never darkness.

I asked a Yale student, 21-year-old Cory Anthony Lee whether he sees himself as a winner.

"A winner. There really are no wi...

... middle of paper ... they fall into cupped palms, quarters sloshing like soup in super sized plastic cups. It’s a circular sound that induces you to keep going. Cresting, high-pitched waves of noise always ends on the up, and vibrate through your body to make mush of the brain. You are filled with a sense of propulsion, repetition, a feeling of the inevitable. It’s maddening, deafening, like that ringing in the ear when you’re sick or have damaged your eardrum —both a persistent ring and buzz, but one which isolates you from any realm of normalcy. The noise distracts you from the impulse to stop at your limit. Cresting waves of winning, surrounded by the circular rhythms of machines on the edge of paying big, fill you with a sense of anticipation. Foxwoods studiously prods, cajoles, and seduces you into believing that you are always on the cusp of making it all back or winning more.

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